Trump supporters are now swarming the vote-count rooms in Michigan, as the Trump campaign is mounting an attempt to dispute the ongoing count processes in key swing states Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The images from Michigan are a reminder of a similar tactic Republicans used during the 2000 presidential election recount in Florida — an effort that featured some very recognizable names.
Jordan Acker, an elected Democratic member of the University of Michigan Board of Regents, posted a video Wednesday afternoon showing the commotion:
And as noted by journalist Marcy Wheeler, who is based out of Michigan, the people engaged in these activities are not proper poll challengers or observers, an official role that requires adherence to strict guidelines.
Reports have also emerged that police have had to be called in, in order to protect the site.
The scenes from Michigan are reminiscent of an event that became known as the “Brooks Brothers Riot,” when Republican staffers and operatives descended on the Miami-Dade canvassing board on November 22, 2000, to disrupt an attempt by local officials to manually recount a selection of ballots. While the mainstream media incorrectly depicted the group as “angry Republican party supporters,” one person on hand was Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY), who instructed an aide to “shut it down” before the mayhem commenced.
And many of the participants were GOP aides who went on to bigger and greater offices in Republican politics — and as The Washington Post reported in 2005, they would even “proudly note their participation” in the riot “on resumes and in interviews.”
One of those participants was Matt Schlapp, a former House Republican aide who later became Bush’s White House political director. Nowadays, he is the chair of the American Conservative Union, which holds the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. Today, Schlapp tweeted a call for the band to get back together and shut down more vote counts — even including one of the famous photos of the 2000 event showing him and others.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham weighed in on the 2000 effort — though she was just a guest at the time — applauding the move during an appearance on the November 24, 2000, edition of Hannity & Colmes.
When co-host Alan Colmes objected to the GOP aides engaging in physical threats and assaults, Ingraham retorted: “Oh, come on. If you're a member of a canvassing board, you better be able to take the heat or get out of the kitchen.”
SEAN HANNITY (CO-HOST): Quickly. We don't have a lot of time. They're screaming about — after they unleashed [Rep. Robert Wexler] and [Rev. Jesse] Jackson and stirred up trouble everywhere they go, then they're talking about, “We've got to lower the rhetoric, the tone of the debate."
LAURA INGRAHAM: Oh, yeah. Well, the whole Doris Kearns Goodwin crowd, you know, is out there saying, "We've got to really clean up our rhetoric, not talk about stealing the election," and my question is where's the ACLU when we need them? You know, where's the ACLU saying, "We can't chill political speech. We have to allow for civil disobedience." When conservatives are in the streets protesting the fact that the election is being…
HANNITY: Hey, Laura, this…
INGRAHAM: … stolen, you know…
INGRAHAM: … like, “Oh, no. You're protesting!"
RICHARD GOODSTEIN (DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST): It's one thing to be on the streets, but to go into the building — come on. Even you would agree that somebody couldn't come into the studio and the ACLU would protect them. That's nuts.
COLMES: There's a difference between speech and physical intimidation.
INGRAHAM: Oh, Alan, wait.
INGRAHAM: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait a second.
COLMES: One Democratic operative says he was physically hurt.
INGRAHAM: Oh, come on. If you're a member of a canvassing board, you better be able to take the heat or get out of the kitchen.
COLMES: Yeah, but you don't have to take physical attack. [Fox News, Hannity & Colmes, 11/24/2000 - via Nexis]